Bikram yoga founder facing allegations of rape now accused of racism, misogyny, homophobia and running his company 'like a cult'

Mail, UK/August 6, 2013

By Alex Greig

The creator of a popular style of yoga was recently hit with two lawsuits alleging rape; now there's a third suit against the yogi accusing him of racism, misogyny, sexual harassment, homophobia and threats of violence.

Bikram Choudhury, 67, who runs an international 'hot yoga' chain, is being sued by his former legal adviser Minakshi Jaffa-Bodden, who claims in papers filed on June 13 that he threatened to have her and her eight-year-old daughter deported.

Jaffa-Bodden is being represented by Carla Minnard, a civil rights attorney, who says her client was one of the few to stand up to Bikram Choudhury and as a result, was forced by the yogi to resign.

According to Jaffa-Bodden's suit, Choudhury then unlawfully took possession of her company car and evicted her and her daughter from the home the company had provided for her.

Finally, Choudhury himself threatened to challenge Jaffa-Bodden's green card application.

'There’s a great desire to keep Bikram’s conduct in the dark,' Minnard told The Huffington Post.

'It shows an inability by anyone to restrain an individual who is a dangerous person.'

Jaffa-Bodden was working at Choudhury's LA-based Yoga College of India when she was made aware of allegations of sexual assaults that took place during Choudhury's training conferences.

According to the Huffington Post, when Jaffa-Bodden attempted to investigate the alleged assaults, she was told it would be 'best' that she 'not look into it any further.'

When she ignored this advice, she was subject to intimidation by Choudhury and other employees.

Finally, she says, she was forced to sign a letter of resignation in March 2013 under the threat of what she inferred to be physical violence from Bikram Choudhury.

Jaffa-Bodden believes it was her vocal objection to Choudhury's behavior that resulted in her forced resignation.

She believes this was punishment for her objections to Choudhury’s conduct. Jaffa-Bodden's suit alleges the yoga school's environment was one of rampant misogyny, homophobia, racism, sexual harassment and threats of violence.

'She did try to stop what she felt was illegal, immoral conduct,' Minnard told The Huffington Post.

'They threatened to have her and her eight-year-old daughter deported.'

The suit alleges Choudhury, who has likened himself to Superman and Buddha, was racist, homophobic and mysogynistic.

Jaffa-Bodden alleges Choudhury referred to female employees and other women as 'bitches' and was blatantly homophobic.

'AIDS is caused by gays, it is the truth, but these f*****g a**hole guys love me, they love Bikram,' he is reported to have said.

The suit also claims that Choudhury treated African-American students differently than others, saying, 'these blacks just don’t get my yoga.'

Giving credence to Jaffa-Bodden's claims are two cases brought against Bikram Choudhury alleging rape, sexual harassment and human trafficking in May.

According to those suits Choudhury has 'a propensity to sexually assault young women'.

The two suits, filed by women named only as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 in an LA court, accuse Choudhury and Bikram Yoga College of India of sexual battery, false imprisonment, discrimination, harassment and other counts.

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